Bombers' recurring nightmare

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:53 PM ET

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have been repeating their version of Groundhog Day all season.

Give up an early lead, claw back, run out of gas, lose. Again and again.

“We say the same thing every week,” head coach Paul LaPolice said after the Bombers repeated that script in a 39-17 loss to the Alouettes in Montreal on Thursday.

But LaPolice tried to maintain a positive outlook, pointing out the Bombers are currently in a playoff position.

“We have to make sure we can put ourselves in position to make the playoffs,” he said Friday.

“We have to play better than we did (Thursday) night, and until we learn that it’s going to be hard …

“I care about us doing the right things and we have to do that to be successful.”

They aren’t doing a lot of things right these days, even if they did tease fans with another comeback that fell short versus the reigning Grey Cup champs.

“We can play with Montreal,” insisted quarterback Steven Jyles.

“Montreal’s a good team but we’re also a good team. It’s little things with us. Little mistakes hurt a drive and in the CFL, if one guy makes a mistake, it ruins a drive.

“We were OK but we didn’t put the ball in the end zone and we didn’t make plays. We need to make plays.”

Jyles completed 11 of 22 passes for 123 yards and one touchdown, but was hurt by at least three drops. He also scrambled for 76 yards on seven carries.

“There’s stuff I can correct as a quarterback and (protecting the ball) had better be at the top of my mind for the future,” said Jyles, who didn’t suffer a concussion as first suspected towards the end of the match.

SPECIAL PLAYER: When Jovon Johnson returned a punt 74 yards for a major in Montreal, he moved into a tie with James Jefferson for second on the club’s career list with three punt return TDs. Keith Stokes leads with five.

“Jovon’s a good player,” LaPolice said. “Good players will have off days, but Jovon had some great plays (Thursday) night. Obviously the punt return was great. He’s played well on special teams for us, and obviously had a great interception at the one-yard line.”

STEPPING UP: After veteran offensive tackle Luke Fritz suffered a hamstring injury, rookie Chris Greaves — a converted defensive lineman — was pressed into duty at guard, with right guard Steve Morley moving to left tackle.

“We had to scramble a bit but Greaves did a great job for a rookie who stepped in there,” centre Obby Khan said. “He had a great game and that’s good … I don’t think he made the kind of mistakes you’d think he’d make and I’m very proud of him for a young kid.”

It was what LaPolice was hoping the Bombers would get out of Greaves when they converted him.

“From what I saw, he did OK for his first time as a defensive lineman moving over,” LaPolice said. “That’s what we liked about him. We think he can be a great one in this league.

“I felt Morley, for the most part, played pretty well,” he said. “He got bull-rushed on a sack once, but for the most part I thought he did OK.”

— With files from Kirk Penton


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